This Wes Anderson-Inspired Cafe in China Is Majorly Instagrammable

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Drawing on Wes Anderson's distinctive visual style and Melbourne's cafe culture, an Australian studio takes a fresh approach to a new cafe in Chengdu.

When Melbourne-based studio Biasol was tapped to design the interiors of a cafe in Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan province, the design firm studied the director's singular aesthetic sense, and The Grand Budapest Hotel in particular. The appropriately named Budapest Cafe unfolded into a fantasy-filled escape—much like Anderson's mythical hotel. 

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The building facade projects a welcoming sense of grandeur with an arch that frames the entrance.

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Once inside, the whimsical design and vivid, nostalgic color palette take cues from the director's cinematic world—appealing to social media-savvy, international clientele (There's even a whole Instagram devoted to finding the Wes Anderson aesthetic in day-to-day life). The interiors' layers, elevations, and design features encourage customers to explore the space. 

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Asymmetrical arches frame recessed seating areas. The Nerd chairs are from Muuto.

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A color-coordinated Smeg refrigerator blends into the scenery, and Hang Tall Stools from Norm Architects provide additional seating for clients at the long marble bar.

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 "Layers, elevations, and design features encourage customers to explore and physically engage with the imaginative and evocative space." 

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Stairs lead to a mezzanine level that provides a view from above, while a decorative staircase leading nowhere is a recurring theme, popping up at the end of the long marble bar, integrated into shelving, and above a faux fireplace.

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A pink ball pool, neon signage, an original Eero Aarnio Bubble chair,  and the speckled pink terrazzo bathrooms inspire a sense of playfulness, complementing and contrasting the nostalgic mint green hues of the walls. 

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The atmospheric branding extends through the signage, menus, and printed extras.  

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By understanding Anderson's symmetrical, precise, and quirky set designs, Biasol was able to create a transportive and refreshingly inspired space defined by design, materiality, and brand. 

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Project Credits:

The Budapest Cafe, Chengdu, China, 1,916 square feet

Interior Design: Biasol, Jean-Pierre Biasol

Terrazo: Signorino

Marble: Artedomus